First National Bank (FNB) has unveiled version 5.0 of its mobile banking app. It’s actually about the 50th iteration of the service, but it’s the five-year anniversary of the mobile app, so FNB figured it made for a snappy name. The new app includes support for a new service called FNB Pay, the ability to use fingerprint sensors on select smartphones as an identity verification mechanism, the ability to receive one-time pins through the app, and a new fraud-reporting feature. The bank has also launched its own FNB Watch app for Android and iOS.
The first version of FNB’s app was launched in 2011 and initially only supported smartphones. A tablet-friendly version followed in 2013. Since then the bank has also launched its own SIM cards and, more recently, its own handsets.
Chief among the new additions to the FNB app is FNB Pay. Like Apple Pay or Android Pay — neither of which are available in South Africa — FNB Pay lets users make payments by tapping their smartphone on a contactless-enabled point of sale terminal. The service will allow users to make purchases up to R200 without entering their PIN.
“As of today, FNB customers with an NFC-enabled Android device can download the latest version of the FNB App and start making purchases at any contactless payment terminal,” say Raj Makanjee, FNB Premium CEO.
FNB has been offering support for contactless payments in all of its current debit and credit cards, and has been rolling them out to its customers as their cards expire and are replaced. And FNB Pay should work anywhere that NFC or contactless card payments are accepted. You can link multiple cards to the service, and pick the one you want on screen when it comes time to pay.
A new feature called Smart InContact lets customers opt to be notified of all transactions, no matter how small the value, instead of only being informed when there’s a transaction of R100 or more. Users can also report fraud more easily by tapping a link on a Smart InContact notification that will connect them to the bank’s fraud line.
Smart inContact replaces SMS one-time pins (OTPs), which will be helpful for travelers who can’t access their local SIM card while abroad. Customers without the latest version of the app will keep getting SMS notifications and OTPs… until they download or update to the latest version of the app, that is. We imagine that’s going to save FNB a fortune in SMS fees… while simultaneously reducing the income mobile operators make from those messages.
Touch, talk and watch
Fingerprint sensors on Android and Apple devices can now be used to login to accounts and make payments. And FNB clients with premier or private banking services can use the new Secure Chat feature in the app to ask their private banker questions or submit other queries.
Finally, FNB’s created a Watch App for Android and iOS wearables that takes the key features of the mobile banking app to the wrist. These include the ability to make cashless withdrawals or send or receive GeoPayments.
You should see the updated app in Apple’s App Store, Google Play or the Windows app store from today.